The New Elopement: Planning a Small, Mini-, or Micro- wedding

Elopements don’t have the same social connotations as in days of yore: a rushed wedding, kept under wraps for various reasons; family drama. Nowadays, elopements are becoming a popular choice for couples who don’t feel a big, traditional wedding suits them. Modern elopements, rather than being just the couple running off together, now often include a small number of close family and friends.

destination wedding planning
photo: Altura Studio

What makes it a modern elopement?

  1. The couple is often going to a destination wedding location rather than marrying in one or the other’s hometown, or their current place of residence
  2. There are less than six months of planning involved
  3. Some traditional wedding customs may be left out such as a lavish wedding cake, printed invitations, or an elaborate dress.

What items are we still seeing being “left in” the elopement that are like a planned wedding?

  1. A lot of thought is still going into the wedding clothing and for the couple to look their best
  2. The location is very important, since without a lot of wedding traditions, the location is the centerpiece and more important than decor. The location IS the decor.
  3. Wedding photography is not getting skimped on! In fact, many elopement weddings we’re seeing are able to afford a skilled professional photographer, because they aren’t spending so much on having hundreds of guests in attendance.

What are the pros?

  1. Can save a lot of money. Reducing guest count is the number one way to reduce the cost of a wedding.
  2. Simplifies arrangements. By not using many wedding traditions, the overall planning becomes simpler. Elopement planners can be used to help find the location and negotiate contracts, and may set everything up; but once you walk down the aisle, you may not need the full services of a wedding planner. Asking a wedding planner about their elopement package for a group of 20 guests or fewer may result in surprising savings.
  3. Could reduce stress. If you are introverted, or just don’t like the fuss surrounding a traditional wedding with a large dance party and hundreds of guests, a small wedding or modern elopement can feel perfect.

What are the cons?

  1. Some people could feel left out. If it’s common in your family culture to have large weddings, those not invited could feel snubbed. Check with the elders of your family if you think this could be the case! Be diplomatic and use the 25-year-rule.
  2. Does not always mean a great reduction in cost. We have seen modern elopements where wedding guests are included, quickly turn into destination weddings. These type of events can quickly grow to a $5,000-$10,000 price tag for 20-50 guests. As long as you have set your budget and planned carefully in advance, you should be able to get the type of wedding you want. A wedding planner can be helpful in this respect, especially those who do a “Kick-Off Consultation”.
  3. It can be hard to find just the right location for a modern elopement. A couple searching on the internet for a place to get married can often easily find the flagship or traditional wedding venues in a destination, while the quirky, unusual, or unique locations are harder to find. For this reason it can be helpful to work with a wedding planner who is familiar with your destination, has traveled there before, and can possibly offer a different angle from what you would see on traditional wedding websites like TheKnot and WeddingWire.

Whichever direction you take your wedding planning in, there are a lot of great elements that we can take from smaller, intimate weddings and elopements.

{ Real Oregon Weddings} Kristin and Jason at Lewis and Clark College

portland wedding planner at lewis and clark college
photos by Joe Riedl

Kristin and Jason were married last July at Lewis and Clark College in the Agnes Flanagan Chapel and their reception was at Smith Hall in the historic Albany Quadrangle on campus. Many thanks to Joe Riedl for the photos of the day.

We enjoyed working with the following great companies to make their day truly special:

Chefstable Catering
Sammy’s Flowers
The Party Place
Continue reading “{ Real Oregon Weddings} Kristin and Jason at Lewis and Clark College”

WeddingWire Newlywed Report Exposes Some Harsh Truths About Planning

I was just glancing through the 2017 WeddingWire Newlywed Report – a market research report where recently-wed couples are polled for data. A couple of items really stood out to me:

  • 40% of couples underestimate their wedding budget. This means almost half of people planning a wedding have a picture in their head of their wedding, but an incorrect estimation of what it will cost. To me, this is a recipe for heartache and stress, and could be easily solved if instead of picking a venue or a design vision first, couples first took their budget and evaluated it line by line to find exactly how each item should be allocated. (This is something we do in our very first meeting with clients.)
  • 50% of weddings occur on just 22 dates of the year which are all Saturdays. This means that, for example, if you take the approximately 16,000 weddings that occur in Oregon each year, about 8,000 of them are vying for venues on the same 22 Saturdays. It seems like it would help to have an organized planner on your side to help you find the perfect location. (We have venue sourcing services that range in price, so get in touch!)

Wedding-wire-market-research

 

Hope you find the report as interesting as I did, and that it helps you in your planning!  — Emee

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{ Real Weddings } A Multnomah Falls Lodge Wedding

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Today’s real wedding was photographed by Scott McNamara. We helped Lauren and Kurt from Chicago plan an Oregn destination wedding weekend at Multnomah Falls Lodge. With this type of scenery you really don’t need any other decor!

Their ceremony was held on the patio surrounded by forest and the falls in the background; the reception was held inside the historic 1925 lodge Great Hall, with its soaring ceilings and crackling fireplace.

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{ Local Love } Quin Candy

Quin_promoLollipop production at Quin Candy

If you are looking to deck out a candy bar, stuff scrumptious sweets into guest bags, or just take a break from planning and treat yourself, make sure to check out Quin Candy.  All of their candy is made in-house and the ingredients are sourced locally when possible.  They have an array of caramels, lollipops, and chews with unique and delicious flavor profiles like maple and cracked pepper caramels and smoked cola gumdrops.  Their Best of Oregon Caramels are crafted with Oregon grown hazelnuts, local honey, and salt from the coast.  You can visit their store on SW Stark or find these treats in shops around town.  If you don't live in Portland you can also order these confections online.  Just make sure to get enough to share!

Screen Shot 2014-06-06 at 12.18.14 PMA selection of candy from Quin Candy

{ Real Weddings } Thalia and Conor at the World Forestry Center

Today’s EJP Events real wedding comes to you courtesy of Thalia and Conor, who we worked with last summer on their lovely wedding at the World Forestry Center. The WFC is such a great venue because there are so many choices for catering, and there are both outdoor and indoor wedding locations. For Thalia and Conor’s wedding, they chose the tented outdoor plaza for the ceremony, followed by a cocktail hour inside Cheatham Hall. During this time, our team changed the tent setup from ceremony to reception. Finally, they and their almost 200 guests headed back to the tent for a seated buffet dinner with a dance area in the center.

Wedding-world-forestry-center-ceremonycourtesy Fritz Photo

While the guests went in for cocktails, the EJP Events team worked quickly to move ceremony decorations for reuse as reception centerpieces; remove tent dividers and bring out tables, move ceremony chairs around the dining tables; and set placesettings and favors.

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courtesy Fritz Photo

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The catering from Food In Bloom received rave reviews from the guests.

Thank you, Conor and Thalia, and to your families, for having us as part of your wedding day!

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{ Friday Roundup } Unique Escort Cards

Unique escort cards can add a special touch to your wedding, so here are some great ideas that are sure to grab your guests' attention.  Escort cards are a nice way to set the tone for dinner and can even become a favor for your guests to take home!

Using vintage keys are a wonderful way to make your guests excited to find their name. This is one that can double as a wedding favor that guests are sure to keep.

Vintage Key Escort Cards

Vintage Key Escort Cards from Style Me Pretty

 

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{ Fall Roundup } Autumnal Wedding Inspiration

FallWeddingPhotographer: Evrim Icoz Photography  Wedding Coordinator: EJP Events

Here in Oregon we had an uncharacteristically beautiful October. Blue skies and temps in the 60s and 70s are a reminder that fall can be the perfect time to host your wedding. Here are some ways to incorporate a fall feel into your wedding.

During the summer it's best to stick to cool, refreshing cocktails but fall begs for a warmer beverage. Here is a DIY Apple Cider Cocktail from Green Wedding Shoes that is sure to wow your guests. Plus, the alcohol is added after the cider is already concocted, making this an easy one to offer as a non-alcoholic choice as well.

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{ Discoveries } Hi-Fi Weddings, a blog about love and music

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We have to give a shout-out to Hi Fi Weddings, a blog we've just discovered. I know how important music is to our clients — over half of the brides and grooms we talk to say that music and dancing are the most important part of their party.

Hi Fi Weddings celebrates the music that you choose for your wedding in great detail, from posts about real weddings and the music they used, to music-themed invitations, fun favors and gifts, and just about anything music.

The great thing too is that the blog covers far more than your typical Top 40 and mainstream wedding music choices. As a music lover who rarely finds compatriots in musical taste, nay not even of the spousal variety ("What, you don't want Morrissey's cover of Moon River for our first dance?"), I highly appreciate that Ashley, the editor, has put together several playlist suggestions for your wedding featuring everything from Otis Redding to Devendra Banhart. Play on!

{ Attire tips } Can I wear the tux I already own to the wedding?

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Weddings are all about personalization.  And we find that many of the men out there already own their own tuxedo.  That's great!  If you want to wear your own tuxedo in yours or your friend's wedding, here are some must-do tips for success:

– Check with the groom first to make sure that this is OK! He may already have a look in mind, and if so you should go with his decision.
– Coordinate your accessories with the group for a polished look.
– If you are the groom, you might be able get away with a slightly different style.  However, if you're not the groom, your tuxedo style should not be radically different from the rest of the wedding party.  No mandarin collars if everyone else is in a notch collar!
– If you are bringing your own accessories (tie, bowtie, vest, etc.) don't forget to pack them in your wedding kit.
– Consider renting or buying the same accessories and shirts for the group for a coordinated look (and also to make sure everyone has them!)
– Don't forget to pack dark socks and the shoes that go with your tux.

Hope you find these tuxedo tips helpful!  Next up we'll talk a little bit about ivory vs. white in the wedding colors.